The Third Hamptons International Film Festival


Gala Screening
US Premiere
Wednesday, October 18th, 7 p.m. UA1 & 2

USA 1995
Director: Daphna Kastner
Cast: Madchen Amick, Jonathan Silverman, Molly Hagan,
Kurt Fuller, Vince Grant. 86 min.

A screwball comedy about the impossibility of finding true romance, let alone a normal life in modern-day Los Angeles, FRENCH EXIT presents us with two screenwriters whose paths cross - quite literally- on a Hollywood freeway, and soon afterward find themselves "bumping into" each other at every turn. The love/hate relationship they share soon heats up when they find themselves vying for the same screenwriting job for an all-powerful producer.

FRENCH EXIT takes place against a backdrop of the L.A. we've come to know and love/hate in recent years: it seems like there's constant earthquakes, brush fires, torrential rains and mudslides in the background of every shot. This running gag is just a metaphor, of course, for the havoc wreaked upon mortal souls when mixing business (Hollywood-style) with pleasure (lifestyle). What emerges from this delightful and modern life is a story that anyone who's tried to juggle the demands of a career and a love life will relate to.

Gala Screening
Sunday, October 22nd, 6:30 p.m. UA1 & 2

USA 1995
Director: Gary Fleder
Cast: Andy Garcia, Christopher Lloyd, William Forsythe, Bill Nunn, Treat Williams, Jack Warden, Steve Buscemi, Fairuza Balk, Gabrielle Anwar, Christopher Walken. 125 min.

A tart, comic thriller with a surprisingly romantic heart, "Things To Do..." revolves around sweet-natured, philosophical mob hit man Jimmy the Saint (Andy Garcia), who has retired from the life, but is talked into bringing his old gang back together for one more job by his former boss (Walken). The job seems quite simple at the outset: Put a scare into the new boyfriend of the mob boss' son's ex-girlfriend and make it clear that he's not to enter Denver. Bringing his old partners back together proves to be easy; pulling off the job in a smooth, simple way turns out to be anything but. When things go badly awry, Jimmy has 48 hours to try and set things right for the pals he's jeopardized by involving them, and the woman who he's convinced could have been the love of his life.

Saturday, October 21, 6:00 p.m., Guild Hall


John Schlesinger is quite unashamedly a humanist director. That's a word and an attitude that isn't much in fashion in the film business these days. But frankly, we are in urgent need of more humanists like him. Most of Schlesinger's films are about people, about character one way or another, the most perceptive of them are also about being in love and the foolish, desperate things we do in that demented state.

Schlesinger's observations on the subject are typically distinguished by a mixture of compassion, irony, and emotional empathy for the quest, and the intellectual acknowledgment of love's almost inevitable failure. He has examined the theme in a variety of situations and milieus, beginning with his first feature, A KIND OF LOVING, made in 1962.

This big-screen breakthrough did not come particularly easily or early in his life. By that time, he had served in the armed forces during World War II, studied at Oxford, worked as an actor in films, on TV, and on stage and been employed as a freelance director by the BBC.

It was his unexpected success with the documentary short TERMINUS (a slice-of-life look at a busy London train station that won him a prize at the Venice Film Festival) that opened the door to feature filmmaking. He became one of the most respected and successful directors of the 1960's, with films admired for their keen social awareness, impeccable craftsmanship and splendid performances. His gifted touch with actors helped make stars of Julie ChristieAlan Bates, Tom Courtenay and Jon Voight. Since then, he has divided his time among films, television and the stage on both sides of the Atlantic, always attempting to further our understanding of ourselves: "A director is an observer, " Schlesinger once said.

Clearly he observes us carefully and well, you need only to view his films to understand that.

Great Britain, 1995

Director: John Schlesinger. Producer: Alison Gilby. Screenwriter: Malcolm Bradbury, adapted from the novel by Stella Gibbons. CInematographer: Chris Seager. Edltor: Mark Day. Music: Robert Lockhart Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Eileen Atkins, Sheila Burrell, Stephen Fry, Freddie Jones, Joanna Lumley, Ian McKellen, Miriam Margolyes, Rufus Sewell
Print Source: BBC International
Sales: BBC Films
95 min.

Based on Stella Gibbons' classic comedic novel, which spoofed the soul-searing, rural-set stories of writers like D.H. Lawrence and Mary Webb, COLD COMFORT FARM boasts a brilliant cast of British stars in a hilarious saga of rural life and eccentricity.

The story unfolds as Flora Poste, a cool, clever, and very modern young woman, finds herself suddenly orphaned. Faced with the prospect of making ends meet on her tiny inheritance, she announces to her dear friend Mrs. Smiling (Joanna Lumley), a London socialite and ardent brassiere collector, that she intends to claim her "rights" and seek refuge with her feudal relatives, the doom-laden Starkadders of Cold Comfort Farm.

Once there, she sets about creating order out of chaos. The farm itself is a ramshackle, rundown ghost of its former grand self, peopled by a motley assortment of eccentric relatives and presided over by Ada Doom, a looney matriarch who holds her family in an iron grip and claims to have seen, as a child, "something nasty in the woodshed."

For Flora, a young woman of "higher common sense," Cold Comfort Farm presents the ultimate challenge as she sets about the task of transforming and modernizing the fortunes of all who dwell there.

Deliciously witty and wicked, COLD COMFORT FARM is brilliantly directed by John Schlesinger, who seems to relish the opportunity to parody the kind of doom-and-gloom rural saga he mastered so well with FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD. This hysterically funny comedy of manners is among his very best films and a perfectly fitting closer to this year's Tribute.

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